Monkeys and Elephants.
Villages and Valleys.
Beaches, Bustling Night Markets and Batu Caves.
I kicked off my semi-retirement with a one-month long mini-retirement in Southeast Asia.
I’m not only traveling for the cultural experience and novelty, but to vet potential places where I would consider settling semi-permanently, and gathering critical information about how much it costs to have a high-quality of life in a given place.
I spent the month of February in:
Bali, Indonesia [pictured above]
Chiang Mai & Bangkok, Thailand and
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
and only spent $1,500 on my baseline accommodation, food and flights.
While I spent quite a bit on art, and excessive entertainment and overly indulgent meals and desserts (the food was unbelievably good), overall, the baseline numbers support that you can live in these countries for $1,500/month or less.
Now let’s be clear: you can certainly spend more.
In fact, I accidentally spent $35 in Bangkok for ONE salmon sushi roll and mimosa (I mentally converted the currency wrong) and another $50 on 3 tacos and a margarita (I converted right – but I was in an upscale area).
I also spent so much on art across Bali and Thailand that, I’m too embarrassed to publish the number.
The food is outstanding. Seriously.
Inverted pad thai.
Freshly-caught fish for sushi.
Freshly fried chicken (from a chicken around the corner - so. fresh.)
Mango sticky rice. Mango sticky rice. Mango sticky rice. This dessert alone is worth the trip to Thailand.
If you're going to Southeast Asia, put enough buffer in your budget to eat to your heart's content.
Even with all my indulgence, my excursions and outings were ridiculously cheap:
If you find yourself planning a trip, check out my recommendations for highlights:
The breakdown and accommodation details are below. Note that I didn’t do a line-by-line categorization because I paid most things in cash:
If you took a month off to travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why? What excites you about the place you picked?
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